The objective of this AVOID project was to provide a scientific review and assessment of the state of knowledge relating to terrestrial carbon sinks. The project builds on the work of the IPCC 5th Assessment Report (AR5) to explore: 1) how much carbon is stored in terrestrial ecosystems and soils and how vulnerable that carbon is to warming of various levels and to management practises; 2) how much greenhouse gas mitigation can be achieved from changes in agricultural practises and land use change more generally in the representative concentration pathway scenarios over time; 3) what assumptions and feedbacks relative to AFOLU were included in the RCPs and the various Earth System Models underpinning the results of the IPCC AR5; and 4) identify if there are important gaps in these assumptions and/or current knowledge and how this understanding can be improved in the future.
This project synthesised and compared scenarios publicly available from the following sources: (a) IPCC WGI, both land use models from RCP scenarios and Earth System Models (b) IPCC WGIII, specifically the database of mitigation scenarios; and (c) the Global Carbon project. The analysis synthesised and compared land use change scenarios and potential future trends in sources and sinks, and commented on their consistency with each other and with the literature. The project also included a literature review looking at carbon sources and sinks, including in particular feedback processes between the carbon cycle and climate, and the relationship between land use change, food cropping and carbon sinks; as well as a review of the published intercomparisons and limitations of the various ESM models, especially in terms of their carbon cycles.